Red Cross Responds to Multiple Wildfires Throughout Northern California

A large flare-up from the Wragg Fire is seen in a photograph taken in rural Solano County, California on July 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Matthew Keys)
A large flare-up from the Wragg Fire is seen in a photograph taken in rural Solano County, California on July 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Matthew Keys)

SACRAMENTO, CA (July 31, 2015) The American Red Cross Gold Country Region has spent the last several days responding to multiple wildfires throughout Northern California.  Thankfully, we’re ready to respond at a moment’s notice and we are prepared for what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons  that California has experienced.

“We know this is just a sneak peek into how bad the fires could be this season” said Lilly Wyatt, American Red Cross Communications Director. “With the extreme drought we’ve been experiencing for four years, we know the threat is there and we are ready to respond and assist our community.”

WRAGG FIRE
The Wragg Fire, which began on Wednesday, July 22, forced multiple evacuations around Solano and Yolo Counties. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Winters Community Center, 201 Railroad Ave, Winters, CA, where evacuated residents can received lodging, meals, comfort and information. We accommodated five residents overnight, but had more than 20 fluctuating throughout the day as residents come and go.

KYBURZ FIRE
Thursday July 23, more Red Cross volunteers were called into action to set up an evacuation center at the Pollock Pines-Camino Community Center, 2675 Sanders Drive, Pollock Pines, CA. for resident impacted by the Kybrurz Fire, which closed both directions of Highway 50. We

LOWELL FIRE
The Lowell Fire at the Nevada/Placer county lines exploded just as the Kyburz Fire was easing on Saturday, July 25 around 3pm. We opened a shelter in Grass Valley to support Nevada Country residents.  Eleven residents stayed at the shelter overnight and another 15 persons staying in the parking lot of the High School in camper’s cars and motorhomes.  Red Cross provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to 25 people while the shelter was opened.

SWEDE’S FLAT FIRE
​In the morning of Wednesday, July 29 another wild land fire erupted, this time in Butte County. Local government requested the Red Cross to set up an Evacuation Center and we were able to have it available within a couple of hours at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville CA. The evacuation center quickly transitioned into a full shelter to house seven individuals overnight.

CHINA, HAPPY AND MALLARD FIRES
Three different blazes sparked in Shasta County the evening of July 29. Although small in acreage they were threatening multiple homes and the Red Cross established a shelter at Anderson High School.

BIG CREEK FIRE
Also on July 29 a vegetation fire in the Groveland Area of Tuolumne County began burning heavy timber. The fire spread quickly and 65 homes were evacuated. At 8:00pm, Red Cross staff and volunteers established the evacuation center at Groveland Community Hall to have it ready for those who needed a comfortable place to rest.

In 2014, we responded to dozens of wildfires, more than ever before and 2015 is shaping up to be as bad as last year,” said Wyatt. “From July 1 to the end of September we had at least one shelter open except for just 18 hours.”

BE PREPARED
The Red Cross urges communities throughout California to get prepared for what will likely be a long and severe wildfire season. The Red Cross urges residents to follow all evacuation orders from local enforcement and be prepared for disasters like wildfires. All families should have an emergency game plan for disasters large and small. Make sure your home has an emergency kit ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Click here to learn more about preparing for and responding to wildfires.

HOW TO HELP
Become a volunteer or make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donations can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home and food and water for them to eat. Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Courtesy of Wayne Freedman @WayneFreedman
Courtesy of Wayne Freedman @WayneFreedman

Three Months Later: Red Cross Recovery Efforts Ongoing in Nepal

RC in Nepal

 

Three months have passed since the devastating earthquake rocked Nepal and its aftershocks shook surrounding locations. The Red Cross is still there providing relief and helping to rebuild.

On April 25, 2015 Nepal was severely impacted by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which took the lives of many and left others homeless and in a state of helplessness.

ifrc-nepal-earthquake-infographic
Click the Infographic to enlarge

5.6 million people were affected, and of that number 17,932 people were injured and 8,856 people were killed. On top of the loss of lives 543,034 houses were destroyed.

To date nearly 8,000 Red Cross volunteers and staff have been deployed, and more than $13.6 million have been spent or committed to emergency relief and shelter and cash distribution.

With generous support and donations we have provided health services including medical care, first aid and psychosocial support; we’ve distributed more than 2.8 million liters of safe water, and more than 7,000 relief kits and hygiene kits have been distributed to Nepal survivors.

 This natural disaster was one of the largest to strike Nepal since 1934, and we will continue to do all that we can to assist with the restoration and rebuild of Nepal. Our primary areas of focus are food, water, shelter, health care and cash grants.

We are confident that we can extend our hand to aid in relief efforts.

Read some of the stories of the people impacted by this disaster: http://rdcrss.org/1E3Hjiy

 

Valued Volunteers Help Us Fulfill Our Lifesaving Mission – Join The Team!

Red Cross volunteer Andy Grossman talks with Weed resident Karly Gregory at the site where her home once stood.
Red Cross volunteer Andy Grossman talks with Weed resident Karly Gregory at the site where her home once stood.

When people see the Red Cross responding to emergencies, they often want to help but don’t know how. We want to help you get involved now, before a major disaster strikes.

Our volunteers respond to a local emergency every 11 hours. In these events, the Red Cross provides shelter, food, and health and mental health services to help families and entire communities get back on their feet. Although the Red Cross is not a government agency, it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes. We work in partnership with other agencies and organizations that provide services to disaster victims.

Most of you have probably noticed reports of several fires in our region. With our record drought conditions, it will not be surprising to have many more, and the danger of a big fire is greater than ever.

The Red Cross has had a presence in the Gold Country region for over 100 years with a modest number of dedicated individuals. Now only a very small number of volunteers remain to provide initial help to folks who have lost their homes, who need a place to stay, food, and maybe critical prescription medications. These same volunteers are regularly the ones to start the process of setting up evacuation centers and shelters for large disasters.

If our local volunteers are not available because of vacations or illness, volunteers from Yuba City or Sacramento will respond, but driving time will insure it won’t be as prompt. Consider your family standing beside the ashes of what used to be your house without money, credit cards, car keys, phone and phone numbers, only the clothing on their backs – would waiting an extra hour or two for help make a difference?

Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014's Boles Fire in Weed, CA.
Volunteer Carrie Reilly delivers water and supplies to residents impacted by 2014’s Boles Fire in Weed, CA.

You can make a difference by volunteering with the American Red Cross. We’ll find the position that appeals to you and allows you to use your skills and talents. Requirements are few: 18 or over, retired or with a flexible work/school schedule. We do require a background check of all our volunteers, We do this to ensure both our volunteers and clients have a positive interaction with the Red Cross .

We have several areas where you can get involved, from communications/public affairs to disaster response and recovery, fundraising, preparing the community for a disaster and general administrative support. For more information or to sign up visit: www.redcross.org/GoldCountry.

Sign up for the Team Red Cross App, which allows you to sign up to help, get an overview of basic tasks and receive notifications about Red Cross disaster volunteer opportunities in your community.

Midwest Extreme Weather: The Red Cross Response

Motorists are  stranded along I-45 along North Main  in Houston after storms flooded the area, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Motorists are stranded along I-45 along North Main in Houston after storms flooded the area, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The Red Cross is helping people in Texas and Oklahoma where devastating floods and tornadoes pounded the states over the weekend. More than 220 people spent their Memorial Day in Red Cross shelters in the two states. Governors in both states declared disasters in more than 80 counties after the extreme weather destroyed or damaged thousands of homes and left thousands without power.

In addition, Red Cross disaster mental health counselors are reaching out to recent victims on-the-ground in Texas. Read how counselors like Richard and Carolyn Newkirk use their specialized skills to counsel children and more in a new article.

All in One Day


All In One Day

All in one day, a home fire, a hurricane, or even a sudden accident can change a person’s life, leaving him or her feeling helpless. Thanks to generous donors, the Red Cross is able to respond, providing hope and lifesaving assistance when it is needed most.

Home Fires are the biggest disaster threat people face in this country. Every eight minutes, someone in the US the Red Cross responds to the home fire. Last year, the Gold Country Region alone responded to 645 local disasters.

Most of these disasters never make the news. That doesn’t mean these disasters are any less devastating to the families affected.

On June 2, 2015, the entire American Red Cross community will unite to launch our first nationwide Giving Day.  Our goal is to inspire the single largest day ever of giving to the Red Cross outside of major disasters.  Families, friends and coworkers across the nation will come together to sustain critical Red Cross support.  All in one day, thousands of people will help ensure that survivors of disasters large and small, patients in need of blood, and military families will not face crises alone.

How can you help?

116427-Giving-Day-Web-Banner-250x250-FINALMake a Gift

When you make this gift, you go all in—providing aid to military families, ensuring a stable blood supply for our nation, saving children  around the world from preventable diseases like measles, providing lifesaving trainings, and enabling the Red Cross to respond, on average, to a staggering 190 disasters each and every day. Your gift on or in advance of Giving Day will help ensure the Red Cross is there for years to come.

SET IT AND FORGET IT

For those who like to plan ahead (or are worried you’ll forget come June 2), we set up a Giving Day donation option just for you!

Now through June 1, you can simply visit the Giving Day website, enter your information, and your donation will be processed on June 2 along with all other Giving Day donations.

This method frees up your time on June 2 so you don’t miss out on being a part of Giving Day activities in your community.

HOW WILL I MAKE AN IMPACT ON GIVING DAY?

One day can change a person’s life in a way they didn’t expect, in a way that left them feeling helpless. Your support allows the Red Cross to be there so people in need can get back on their feet.

People like Pablo in Calaveras, who overcame a tragic house fire; “The Red Cross gave me hope. They showed me the best in people.”

Or Denise, a client from the Boles Fire in Weed: “When you give even a little from the heart, it means the world to someone who has lost so much.”

Thanks to generous people like you, the Red Cross is able to respond to emergencies and provide life-saving training.

HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?

You can also sign up to be a Giving Day Social Ambassador. We’ll provide a toolkit with easily customizable, click and paste social posts and images for you to use. It’s easy to sign up – go to https://givingday.redcross.org/#ambassadors

Thank you for helping to bring more good days! #allin1day

On June 2, let’s go “all in” and make this day count. Schedule your donation today for Giving Day at redcross.org/givingday. You can also help build awareness by using the hashtag #allin1day on Twitter and Facebook.

Nepal from the eyes of the American Red Cross CEO/President Gail McGovern

CEO and President Gail McGovern and Chief International Officer David Meltzer recently returned from visiting Nepal following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake. During their time in country, they visited remote communities impacted by the disaster, and spoke with earthquake survivors as well as Nepal Red Cross employees and volunteers, many who lost everything in the earthquake but continue to help others in need.

In this video, David interviews Gail about what she saw on the ground, what is most needed, and how our work in Nepal helped prepared many people ahead of the destruction.

Also see Gail’s blog:  Gail McGovern: Stories of Resilience from Nepal.

And remember, our community was able to raise close to $445 thousand dollars during the KCRA telethon just a few days after the quake. Thanks again!

What it Means to Give Back as a Red Cross Volunteer and Staff Member

Written by Debbie Calcote, Disaster Program Manager (Tuolumne & Stanislaus Counties), Red Cross Capital Region

Debbie Calcote (R) provides direction for Red Cross volunteers during a recent fire safety canvassing event in Turlock, CA.
Debbie Calcote (R) provides direction for Red Cross volunteers during a recent fire safety canvassing event in Turlock, CA.

In 2005, like many other people, I was devastated by what I was seeing in the media about Hurricane Katrina.  The sadness and total devastation of so many things and people was almost more than I could bear.

My heart went out to all impacted by this rage of Mother Nature. I needed to do something only I was caring for my disabled husband and couldn’t leave the area. So I went to the local Red Cross office and offered to help in any way. Continue reading What it Means to Give Back as a Red Cross Volunteer and Staff Member